Giantess Giantess

During the last decade, Vancouver’s the Battles were a fixture on the local scene but never made much of a mark beyond the city limits. In attempting to change this, the group’s front-man Stephen Wood has taken on a new line-up, sound and moniker, Giantess. And while the band’s heart may be in the right place, Giantess’s self-titled effort is a tough go. Contrary to Wood’s work with Battles, this project turns down the pop and ups the rock, making this disc come across like a mix between Bowie’s Aladdin Sane and rough-and-tumble stoner rock. And although this combination may seem appealing, most tracks, such as "Giantess” and "Hope Springs Eternal,” get too bogged down in awkward structural shifts to offer any satisfying payoffs. Also, the playing, as well as Wood’s vocal delivery, often gets too loose and haphazard for comfort. Perhaps with a tighter, more-focused approach Giantess could have pulled this album off but as it stands, any diamonds that are here are lost in the rough. (Soft Abuse)